As tonight turns into tomorrow, the 3rd full year will be complete without Sonzee physically with us. It has been 4 years since she was last alive at some point in a year. Tonight, 5 years ago was the last New Years eve Sonzee was alive. My last paragraph of my 2019 post leaves me, still, hollowed to my core, as it has done in other yearly recaps starting in 2020.
It is hard to say whether 2019 was Sonzee's worst year, she has had so many rough times during each of her years, I cannot say one full year was actually the worst, but I can say this year was certainly not her best. I can say with assurance that as we close out this year, it is the one that leaves me feeling the saddest about where we currently stand, and extremely hesitant for what will come. I feel like 2019 took a lot from our little bear, and along with it a lot of my faith, hope, and what limited positive outlook I might have been hanging on to. 2019 is another chapter I am glad to be turning the page on, but if I am honest, scared to be doing at the same time. We have enough years under our belts to know better than to ask for calmness or for CDKL5 to be kinder to us, so for 2020, I will ask that whatever happens, I am able to see and truly believe happened for the best.
2023 was the year that I wrote my fewest blog posts. 46 (counting this one) to be exact. It was a year I learned the truth of that fancy saying I would say is my mother's most famous quote, "less is more". I wrote fewer letters to Sonzee on her blog this year than ever in her life and death, but more were written in my head. I shared less about my feelings and less about my grief, but the emotions of my grief were the largest they have ever been. I visited her grave less this year but felt her closer to me more than I have since she died.
In 2023 I learned that although I have a lot of her items, the tangible items I have bring me less comfort than they once did. This year I truly learned she is with me more often than I want to give her credit for (or rather give myself credit for believing). I learned that signs are always there if I let go of the fear of others' opinions because I need to remember unless you have buried a child, you really do not get it. Clouds in the shapes of hearts and rays of light in a picture might be crazy for others to believe are my dead daughter, but it doesn't matter, because in 2023, I realized if it helps me that is what matters.
2023 was a year I spoke about her less, but when I did, I didn't feel my 2022 or earlier need to justify her death. She was 4, she was my 3rd daughter, she was my 4th child, she died, and that is horrific. I learned that I don't need to soften anyone else's blow or ease their discomfort by stating that she had a genetic disorder. It isn't any less tragic because she never was typical, I don't know why I ever felt the need to make her death sound any less awful than what it is.
2023 was the year that I was able to talk about her more with less tears. The tears still come, the pain is still present, but a lot of the time, talking about her over the last year just made me happy. 2023 was a year I was still presented with challenges when asked how many children I have. Sam seems to find it so easy to simply say, "Four kids here physically, and 1 in heaven". Huh, so simple, yet still for me, so complicated.
In 2023 I became less angry about her loss and sadder about her absence. Avoidance was a significant part of 2023 because the pain is still present. I am still not ready to fully allow myself to grieve when it hits me, and I only sit with it for a little before I tell myself another day. Less is more is certainly true when it comes to grief. The less you allow yourself to do it, the more it returns. Maybe I'll learn how to accept the grief in 2024?
In 2023 I spoke to Sonzee's epileptologist and 2 of her 1:1 nurses, and many others who were part of Sonzee's life, honoring the message I read to her the day she was buried. In 2023 I introduced Sonzee to people who now bring her up to me and feel comfortable talking about her.
To finish off my last letter of 2023, I will quote myself from the same letter referenced above.
While I wish I wasn’t writing you a letter I am unsure you can even hear, my words will never be able to fully express how extremely grateful I am that you are no longer going to have to experience a millisecond of discomfort again, and that is what is going to be my forever comfort and allow me to put one foot in front of the other, because knowing you will now forever be at peace is worth every ounce of pain that will come my way.
As we close out 2023 and enter into a year that will become the last year of her death that will be less than the number of years that Sonzee was alive, I hope and pray that I will find a way to cope with this challenging reality. But I will continue to be indebted to Hashem, that she is living freely among many of her friends and will never experience any level of discomfort again...and so for that, I will gladly continue to take all the pain that comes my way as I struggle to live without my little bear.